When I wrote that PSA and Toyota are exploring their sado-masochistic tendencies a tie-up of production in PSA’s ab- under-used Sevelnord plant in northern France, commenters said it will never happen. Others complained about the choice of choice illustrations.
France’s President Nicolas Sarkozy rode to the rescue of embattled TTAC, and confirmed the tie-up.
Sarkozy told La Voix du Nord that the Sevelnord facility was likely to be saved by the new partnership, says Reuters:
“Sevelnord will be OK. My understanding is that there’s a deal in discussion with Toyota for light commercial vehicles.”
Toyota and Peugeot declined to comment.
This is a hot potato in many ways.
- It is known that the European car industry must shed capacity, but no statesman wants it in his country or on his watch.
- PSA’s EU sales were down 19.4 percent in March and 17.3 percent for the quarter. It is likely to get worse. PSA sells, mortgages, and rents out whatever it can find.
- PSA’s new partner and Toyota’s arch nemesis GM has its own problems in Europe. GM Group sales are down 12.3 percent in the region, and there is no immediate end to Opel’s bloodletting.
- The unions are eager to make feared plant closures a central topic of France’s presidential election campaign, which will enter a second round of voting on May 6.
- Sarkozy is trailing Socialist challenger Francois Hollande in opinion polls.
And with the tie-up confirmed, the pictures will continue.